STEUBENVILLE - Ask Steubenville Health Commissioner Patty Reda about the importance of the annual flu vaccine and she is quick to advise getting the shot and to practice good hygiene.
Reda and her husband started receiving flu shots years ago in an effort to persuade their young daughter to join them in getting a vaccine.
"My daughter was diagnosed with rheumatic fever and really didn't like getting shots. So my husband and I both got the flu vaccine that year to protect our home environment and have continued to get it every year," explained Reda.
GETTING A FLU SHOT — Steubenville Health Department registered nurse Tammie Suffoletta gives Health Commissioner Patty Reda a flu vaccination. The city health department will hold a public flu vaccine clinic from 9 a.m. until noon Monday at the Schiappa branch of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County on Mall Drive. The city health department then will offer flu vaccines from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday at the health department on South Third Street. -- Dave Gossett
"We take precautions here in the city health department with our writing utensils and anything touched by a number of people. This is the start of the flu season and in addition to obtaining a flu vaccine, we encourage everyone to take simple precautions. The basics such as washing your hands is very important. Handwashing is still the best line of defense even for the flu virus. Also covering our nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing. And don't touch our eyes or mouth with your hands until you wash your hands. And of course staying home when you are sick," stated Reda.
She noted she is looking forward to the public flu vaccine clinic Monday morning, "because we receive great cooperation from the library staff and we see a lot of people during that three-hour clinic."
The event is set from 9 a.m. until noon Monday at the Schiappa branch of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County on Mall Drive.
"And this year we are offering a quadrivalent shot which offers a vaccine that carries four different virus types that gives the patient the opportunity for protection against four different flu viruses. This is the first year the quadrivalent vaccine has been developed. The traditional shot is still available but we felt it best to offer more protection," Reda said.
Sandy Perlosky of the health department said patients should bring their insurance, Medicare or Medicaid cards.
"We will bill the insurance companies and a fee will be charged for those people who do not have insurance," Perlosky said.
"We are stressing anyone age 50 or above and those people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart conditions, lung related illnesses, anemia or immune problems should receive a flu vaccine. Receiving the flu shot only takes a few minutes but it can help prevent the spread of influenza. I would encourage all adults to strongly consider getting a flu vaccine this year. We really hope to see a community that is fully vaccinated this year." Perlosky stressed.
According to Perlosky, the adult flu shots will be offered at the city health department from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays as long as supplies last.
"We will also offer the flu vaccine for children from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays. And I am asking parents to call our health department before bringing their children into our offices so we can discuss their immunization history," Perlosky said.
"We are using a pre-filled syringe this year that makes it easier to administer the vaccinations. And we are asking pregnant women to bring a prescription from their physician," Reda said.
She said questions about the city's flu vaccine program can be answered by calling the city health department at (740) 283-6000, extension 1500.
The Jefferson County Health Department has completed its community outreach flu clinics throughout the county and is now offering flu shots at the Ohio Valley Towers from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The cost for the flu shot is $25. Cash or checks will be accepted and patients are asked to bring their Medicare/HMO card with them.
Children may get flu shots only at the county nursing office.